Indonesia and Africa: the xylophone as a culture-indicator


  • A.M. Jones London School of Oriental and African Studies



Xylophone music -- Indonesia, Xylophone music -- Africa, Chopi (African people) -- Music, Yoruba (African people -- Music, Adangme (African people) -- Music


This essay is an appeal to scholars of various disciplines to bring their knowledge to bear on a thesis which has arisen in the first place purely from musical evidence. The thesis we have propounded alters our perspective of Africa; it calls for a map with the Indian Ocean in the centre—a basin whose rim is Indonesia on the east, Madagascar in the south, and Africa on the west, all, to a greater or less extent, sharers in a common sphere of influence. The theory calls for the collaboration of scholars working all round this rim. Perhaps African studies have tended to be too much confined to Africa, though we believe other workers are now also looking tentatively at Indonesia. Let us all come into the open with evidence for or against. We would welcome discussion and criticism, but, as a musician, with one caveat, that those who would demolish the non-musical evidence must at the same time account for the musical phenomena if their argument is to stand.

Author Biography

A.M. Jones, London School of Oriental and African Studies

Research Member of the African Music Society. Lecturer at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. For many years a missionary at Mpanza, Northern Rhodesia. Author of Studies in African Music.


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How to Cite

Jones, A.M. 1960. “Indonesia and Africa: The Xylophone As a Culture-Indicator”. African Music : Journal of the International Library of African Music 2 (3):36-47.

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